Wen calls on China, Pakistan to shape future by joining hands

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a speech at the Pakistani parliament here on Sunday, calling on the two countries to advance their strategic partnership of cooperation and join hands to shape the future.

“To cement and advance the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Pakistan is our common strategic choice,” he said.

“It serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples and contributes to peace, stability and development of the region and beyond,” he added.

Addressing Pakistani lawmakers, Wen highlighted the true friendship between China and Pakistan, saying that the two neighboring countries are “brothers forever.”

Recalling Pakistan’s consistent and full support to China in the past at some crucial junctures and on various issues, including issues concerning Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, Wen said that China received valuable help from Pakistan.

He also noted that China has extended firm support to Pakistan in various fields over the past five decades.

“China-Pakistan friendship is full of vigor and vitality, like a lush tree with deep roots and thick foliage. China-Pakistan relationship is strong and solid, like a rock standing firm despite the passage of time,” Wen said.

In his speech, the Chinese premier also touched on many other areas of the China-Pakistan relationship, urging the two sides to seize the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations to promote traditional friendship, deepen practical cooperation, and make the partnership more extensive and productive.

China and Pakistan officially established diplomatic ties in 1951 and the two sides will celebrate the Year of China-Pakistan Friendship in 2011.

The two sides should further improve communication on issues of common concern, Wen said in his speech entitled “Shaping the Future Together Through Thick and Thin.”

“We should preserve the tradition of close exchanges at the leadership level, step up communication and coordination on issues that concern our respective core interests and firmly support and help each other,” he said.

“We should expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Next year has been designated as the Year of China-Pakistan Friendship. A number of exchange activities will be held,” he said.

China has decided to provide 500 government scholarships to Pakistan in the next three years, and 100 Pakistani high school students will be invited to participate in the Chinese Bridge Summer Camp in China, Wen said.

“We would like to see more Pakistani young people visiting and studying in China,” he added.

On trade and finance, Wen said China backs Pakistan’s endeavor to develop itself through expanded international trade and investment cooperation.

“China welcomes Pakistan’s effort to capitalize on the preferential terms in the bilateral FTA to expand exports to China.”

Wen also said China may explore the possibility of a currency swap agreement with Pakistan.

“Greater financial cooperation between China and Pakistan will provide a strong support for in-depth and sustained growth of our economic and trade ties,” Wen said.

The Chinese premier also said that the two countries should enhance coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs.

China and Pakistan have common interests and broad consensus on such major international issues as UN reform, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, climate change and food and energy security, Wen said.

“We should make joint efforts to meet challenges and promote harmonious and sustainable development of the world,” he said.

Over the past 60 plus years, the government and people of Pakistan have overcome various difficulties and scored remarkable achievements in nation-building and economic development by mainly relying on their own efforts, Wen said.

Confronted by many difficulties and challenges, Pakistan is now at a critical juncture, Wen said.

He expressed his confidence that Pakistan will tide over the difficulties and embrace new hope and new development. “The Chinese government and people will stand firm with you in getting through the tough times,” he said.

Wen arrived in Pakistan on Friday for a three-day visit after his trip to India.

He met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as well as military leaders.

China and Pakistan sealed a number of trade deals worth about 10 billion U.S. dollars during Wen’s visit.

Xinhua

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